More than 2,000 volunteers sign up for DSWD Taal Volcano relief efforts

Robie de Guzman   •   January 14, 2020   •   622

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD) on Tuesday said it received an overwhelming response for its call for volunteers for its relief operations for those affected by the eruption of Taal Volcano.

In a Facebook post, the DSWD IV-A said more than 2,000 volunteers had signed up to help in the repacking of relief goods that would be distributed to residents in areas badly affected by the eruption.

The DSWD also expressed gratitude to the 250 volunteers who helped repack food packs on Tuesday at its warehouse in General Mariano Alvarez in Cavite.

“These food packs are for distribution to the affected families of the #TaalVolcano eruption in Cavite and Batangas provinces,” it added.

Due to the overwhelming response from people who are eager to help in the relief operations, the DSWD encouraged volunteers to sign up in the link they provided to process their schedule.

The Office of the Civil Defense earlier reported that the volcanic unrest displaced more than 35,000 people in Batangas. The province of Batangas has been placed under a state of calamity.

Taal Volcano is currently under Alert Level 4 following a phreatic explosion that occurred last Sunday, January 12.

According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, alert level 4 means a hazardous eruption is imminent within hours to days.

DSWD begins distribution of initial COVID-19 cash aid to poor families — IATF

Robie de Guzman   •   April 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) announced that the distribution of cash assistance to poor families heavily-affected by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis will begin Friday.

IATF Spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the Department of Social and Welfare Development (DSWD) will start the distribution of cash aid to poor households in the cities of Manila and Parañaque.

The financial assistance for other parts of the country will be delivered in the coming days, he added.

“We have been informed by the DSWD that the subsidies will be distributed starting today in Manila and Parañaque, and we expect other jurisdictions to be distributing these to their residents in the next few days,” Nograles said in a virtual press briefing.

“Hintayin lamang po ninyo ang pakikipag-ugnayan sa inyo ng mga naatasang kawani hinggil sa sistemang ipatutupad upang maayos itong maipapamigay,” he added.

Under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Law, the government has allocated P200 billion for its social amelioration program aiming to provide relief to 18 million poor households deeply-affected by the public health crisis.

The program’s qualified beneficiary will receive cash subsidies, ranging from P5,000 to P8,000, according to the minimum daily wage rate in their respective regions.

Nograles also said that the cash aid for the beneficiaries of the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) will also be released starting Friday.

However, he urged 4Ps beneficiaries to wait for the announcement when the assistance has already been credited to their cash cards.

“Sa mga benepisyaryo ng 4Ps, ngayong araw din po sisimulang ipasok sa inyong mga card ang benepisyong ito. Uulitin ko ang paalala, maghintay ng anunsyo upang hindi tayo magkumpulan sa mga bangko,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Department of Labor and Employment urged all employees affected by the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine to avail of the government’s COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP).

CAMP offers a one-time P5,000 financial support to employees of companies or business establishments affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

DOLE said employees may apply for subsidy on their own if their employers refuse to submit their payroll.

For inquiries regarding the cash assistance, workers can visit DOLE’s website, its official Facebook page or contact them at hotline 1349. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Duterte transfers relief distribution to DSWD

Marje Pelayo   •   April 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to lead the distribution of relief goods and financial assistance to residents affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.

This, after reports of local officials abusing the release of relief assistance amid the imposed enhanced community quarantine in Luzon.

“Tinanggal ko sa politiko kasi maraming reklamo. Tinanggal ko sa politiko ‘yung distribution ng pera pati ang bigas na pagkain (I removed the responsibility of relief distribution – money and goods – from local officials due to mounting complaints),” the President said in his televised broadcast on Wednesday evening (April 1.)

“Ibinigay ko kay Secretary Bautista lahat na iyan kasi itong DSWD may sariling distribution network na iyan, ang Pantawid (Pamilyang Pilipino Program). Idagdag na lang nila doon sa matatanggap doon sa recipient ng Pantawid, (I assign everything to Secretary Bautista because DSWD already has an established distribution network, the Pantawid [Pamilyang Pilipino program]. They will just include in the list additional recipients). ” he added.

The Chief Executive directed Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez to assist the DSWD on the matter.

President Duterte has been vocal in his warning to local officials not to engage in corruption and refrain from politicizing the distribution of relief assistance to vulnerable sectors. MNP (with input from Rosalie Coz)

Phivolcs lowers Taal Volcano alert to level 1

UNTV News   •   March 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Thursday said it has downgraded the alert on Taal Volcano to level 1 following the decrease in volcanic quakes and surface activity at the main crater.

In its bulletin, Phivolcs said the Taal Volcano’s condition in the succeeding four weeks after its alert was lowered to level 2, has been characterized by low-level volcanic earthquake activity, stabilizing ground deformation of the Taal Caldera and the Taal Volcano Island edifices, and weak surface activity at the Main Crater and the Daang Kastila fissure.

“DOST-PHIVOLCS is lowering the alert status of Taal Volcano from Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 1 to reflect the overall decreasing trend in the level of monitoring parameters,” its bulletin reads.

State volcanologists said that alert level 1 means that the volcano is still in “abnormal condition,” and that this “should not be interpreted that unrest has ceased or that the threat of an eruption has disappeared.”

Under alert level 1, sudden steam-driven or phreatic explosions, volcanic earthquakes, minor ashfall and lethal accumulations or expulsions of volcanic gas can occur and threaten areas within the Taal Volcano Island.

The alert level may be raised back to alert level 2 “should pronounced change in monitored parameters forewarn of renewed unrest,” Phivolcs said.

The agency reminded residents that entry to Taal’s permanent danger zone, especially the vicinities of the Main Crater and the Daang Kastila fissure, remains strictly prohibited. 

The Taal Volcano was placed under alert level 4 when it spewed ash on January 12 which sent thousands of residents to temporary shelters and disrupted businesses in surrounding areas.

It was later lowered to alert level 2 several weeks later due to decreased unrest. — ROBIE DE GUZMAN

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